“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unyielding, slanderers, without self-control, savage, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away.” 2nd Timothy 3:1-5
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is evident that we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who purpose to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all evils, for which some being greedy, have strayed from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1st Timothy 6:6-12
“No one is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. It is not possible to serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24
There is a movement that has grown exponentially throughout the United States in the past few years and that movement is greed. While there has always been some greedy folks in this country, there is now a movement where literally the amount of wealth that an individual has, simply is no longer enough for them, they could use just a little bit more. Likewise, the United States has always been a country full of people who help others and still is. However, this greed is starting to have effects on society as a whole for everyone.
When Donald Trump was running for President, prior to be elected, he stated that he was going to ‘make America rich again’, as well as touted that prosperity would come back to the United States. Since then he has reminded us on a regular basis that the stock market is up, the wealth is increasing, people are better off, but are we?
While the intent of writing this article is to point out some underlying problems going on in this society that are contrary to the Bible, one can not ignore the fact that our Commander-in-Chief may very well be responsible for the increase in greed in this country, due to his persistent doctrine of prosperity.
My family and I have rented for years and we began to notice some problems taking place. I’ve always been astute in my interest in economics and have found both macro and micro economics to be very interesting. In Kalispell, Montana we had a very good deal on a condo that we rented. An older retired man rented us the condo (2bdrm, 1.5 ba) for $750.00 per month + utilities, complete with an older garage for storage. While the condo was nothing fancy, it certainly suited our needs at the time. Around us though the pricing of rent was beginning to go up steadily.
We lived in the condo starting in the end of 2016 until this previous May. Our rent never went up, we always paid on time. Probably the unit when we rented it could have went for a $100-150 more per month, but now it could easily go for $1200-1400 a month! In a matter of a few years! Our landlord ended up renting it for $800 a month after we left, because he wanted to make sure the rent was affordable for someone to rent it.
The rental market in Kalispell became very tight, due to the booming economy and lack of affordable homes to purchase. Kalispell had the third biggest economic growth in the country, in terms of cities under 50k, so there was a good amount of growth. In that sense, there was some logic into the reason for increases, but after having moved to Michigan where the economy is much more stagnant, the same problems persist here, without the economic boom.
Quite simply the numbers don’t add up for the majority of working class people who fill much of the positions at the retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores and other places where people frequently visit for both necessity and entertainment. I’m sure that some would read this and tell of how they wish rent was only $1200 or $1400 a month and it is readily understood that in many places such as NYC and SoCal that prices have already been through the roof. What I am saying would be nothing new, old news to those who have experienced it first hand in places like Seattle. Yet how many people consider what the Bible says about such things, just how well is the pursuit of prosperity from the American people working out for the average person?
While corporate America and their stockholders never-ending pursuit of wealth could be discussed here, let me point out that in 2016 we hit the biggest wealth gap in this country since the Great Depression and now in late 2019 the newest numbers show that it is even worse. Let me point the finger in a different direction, let me point it to the average man or woman in this country who are causing social economic problems for the average person, rather than doing what most do and point to the bankers and Wall Street elite.
The stock market is hot and even though there are some serious cracks in the economy, it continues to defy logic and overall hold at a level that is much higher than it should be. Why? There is a theory out there that those who are in the ‘know’ know that the system is beyond broke and they plan on pulling every last penny out from the market, putting it into real assets, so when it crashes, they have plenty of real liquidity. But, on the other hand I came across a recent article from Fidelity Investments that discussed baby-boomers putting more money into the stock market than they are being told to.
In a nutshell, Fidelity is telling those to not put so much in the stock market, but because of greed and the prospect of being much richer, they are over-leveraged on the stock market and set up for a failure, should a major correction set in. In fact some of that age group are putting ALL of there assets into the stock market, they are all in. My family does not invest in the stock market, nor do we yet have a retirement savings begun, perhaps the Lord will come back before we hit that age? If not, we trust in Him to provide either way.
After some research (this based off of mostly smaller cities), rents across much of the United States have skyrocketed to a point of ridiculousness. For many years I was a restaurant manager off and on, having worked first hand with many individuals, knowing the struggles that they faced, offering some opportunities to those who deserved it and worked hard. I’ve seen first hand employees who had no food or who would sleep in cars from time to time, things are rough out there.
How much of those rent costs are associated directly with greed? How much of the housing bubble, where people in certain portions of the country are readily fixing and reselling their homes to make the biggest profit, is simply for greed. They are getting in and getting out, playing a game of musical chairs, as happened a decade ago, trying not to be holding the bag in the end. Quite simply they don’t care that there is no affordable housing for many people, they only care about themselves and their prosperity. A doctrine of prosperity, without charity or caring of fellowman, is always wrong.
The love of money is yet just another thing that is slowly destroying this country and what will be the end of such a thing! Thankfully, thus far, the Lord has always provided our family a home that is economical, a fair price. While they might not be lapped with luxury, they are always seemingly fitting for the time period and necessity of the overall use of the home in compared to what we do to earn a living.
Several years ago we were traveling through Las Vegas late at night, looking for a place to stay. If you have ever driven around the area, you know that there is not a bunch of stuff outside of the metro area. Heading towards California, while still in Nevada, not that far from Las Vegas, there was a lone casino-hotel combo that I stopped at to see if they had a room for the night. They didn’t, we ended up sleeping in a rest stop for a few hours in California. But what I saw first hand inside the casino has stuck with me since then.
Inside the casino was the baby boomer generation, at a late hour, filling the seats, sitting in front of slot machines, throwing away their wealth for their own pleasures, rather than thinking of their children or grandchildren. There they were pushing button after button, with the hope of getting rich, most of them making their own family poorer in the end. After all, everyone knows that things haven’t got easier, otherwise why the cry to make America great again?
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is treasured up for the just.” Proverbs 13:22
Having relocated to Michigan to take care of a deceased family member’s possessions, there was a trailer that was amongst those. We cleaned it out, as it had been sitting unused for many years, filling up a 30 yard dumpster of unwanted possessions. The overall condition of the trailer, though on a small unbuildable lot (due to township rules) was in very poor condition, the ceiling coming in, water damage, rot, weak floors, simply old. As we were finishing up a friendly man approached us, interested in purchasing the place.
The overall area where it was located is known for higher home prices, but the trailer was in an area that was not entirely desirable. Given the circumstances and what seemed like a fair price, we went with a price of $10,000, even though we spent way over a thousand to get it cleaned up and the man readily agreed. He, like others, just needed ‘a little bit more money’ for retirement. While I do not know what he eventually found not worth fixing, as the property was sold ‘as is’, the trailer was back on the market for a hundred dollars less than we sold it to him.
In the end it went up a couple of thousand from the listing price so he probably was able to break even, but that mindset of not being content and willing to take a risk to simply be a little bit better off can be an ungodly thing, if the condition of the heart is not right.
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in everything I am taught both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to lack. I have strength for all things in Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13
Right now there are many in this country who believe the time for prosperity has come. As one well-known investor put it, President Trump is the greatest salesman of all time. While I wish that our country could go back to a 1950’s level of comfort, I also understand that we are FAR from where our people were in fear of God and following much of the Bible.
Back in the 1950’s there were still biblical Churches preaching the Gospel and including repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21) as the means to Salvation. Our society moral fabric was still largely following the Bible’s, though most of our nation was still not Saved, we at least had a good percentage of people who knew right and wrong from the Bible and people who at least feared their Creator. As I stated before in 2016, when Donald Trump was running for office and I will state again, if we want to make America great again, we need to repent as a nation and we need to make God great in our country first.
Greed is all around us, with the bogus home prices, rental prices, prices for goods and services, lack of employer productivity, demands from employees, employer’s not paying a fair wage when they can afford it, you name it. Now we are starting to see the fruits of this prosperity doctrine being preached in this country and the fruits are self and the love of money, both of which the Word of God condemns.
“No one is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. It is not possible to serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Observe the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by being anxious is able to add one cubit to his stature? So why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:24-34